(I wrote a book once. It was the worst book ever written. Regardless, I wrote the book anyway. Titled Passion Aggressive, it’s essentially my life, but broken down into chapters. The only thing the book doesn’t have is an actual point. Or an ending. Or a place on your bookshelf. No matter, I’ve decided to just start putting it on the internet because YOLO.)
I’m twenty-eight years old and I know nothing of the world. Absolutely nothing.
This is bad. Mainly because I’m a writer and the one piece of advice I’ve been given over and over as a writer is to “write what you know.”
But what if you know nothing? What do you write about then?
First I should be clear, by writer I mean that I can write a brilliant status update that gets ten or more likes on Facebook or a blog that’s filled with dick jokes that people bring up while we’re out simultaneously pumping gas together at opposite pumps. Not that I actually get paid to write anything or that I’ve ever been published or that I’m even any good. I do not know if I’m any good. In fact, I’m marginally certain that I actually kind of suck.
Right now, I’m sitting in the parking lot of McDonalds -something I swore I would never ever consume again in my whole life- eating a double cheeseburger and fries while trying my hardest to win the battle my idle left hand is having with my bored and sullen heart. I want to text my ex-boyfriend, but I do not know if I want to for real. And so here I sit, parked in the very back of the bane of all restaurant’s parking lot, trying to hide from people who might see me eating this garbage, arguing with myself about why I should/shouldn’t text my ex. It’s pathetic.
His name is David. We’ve been broken up about four months now and he went on a date last night. The direct result of his decision to go out with another chick -some single mom- has left me with mascara smudged on my eyes and a half eaten McDouble greasing up my hand. I don’t know why. Four months ago, I thought that I didn’t even like him. And I don’t. I know that I don’t even like him.
The reasons I left him were centered around a couple things. One, he wouldn’t give me a rim job and two, I thought I was settling because of that. That’s why I left him. Of course, I always tell people the things they want to hear like “I just think love is better than this” and other crap that people always assume someone who writes is supposed to say. But no, I left him because I wanted my asshole French kissed.
And because I was miserable, but that’s not really an important detail.
I’ve been hanging out with him platonically lately- after he stopped calling me at three in the morning to tell me I was a whore and we started talking like adults again. He’s the only person in the world right now that I trust with an emotionally distraught me and it just so happens, I’ve been emotionally distraught a lot this past month. I tell him more than I tell my best girlfriends. Mainly because he just shuts the fuck up and listens to me.
Which brings me to the other dude in my life, the dude I thought for certain was going to make all of my wildest sexual dreams come true– Cooper, who never shuts the fuck up. I try and tell him about instances in my life and I’m quite positive that he doesn’t hear a bit of it. When he’s silent, he’s just formulating the next topic about himself that he’s going to bring up as soon as I can manage to stop interrupting with my own not-as-important stories. In our conversations, my tongue plays the red carpet, rolling out syllables and sounds so that he can dance upon them and get to the main show- tales of remodeling his kitchen or what pair of running sneakers he bought that day or how he wishes he was inside of my vagina.
Oh, and it turns out, Cooper will also not give me a rim job.
I take another oversized bite of my current therapist Mr. Double Cheeseburger with No Pickles. The grass is always greener. I hate that phrase. Mainly because it’s always used it as “advice” when I’m doubting my current situation. And because I doubt every current situation I’m in, I hear it a lot. Honestly though, I saw this coming. I really did, which is why it took me so long to leave David in the first place. Somewhere inside of me I didn’t want to because I knew eventually it would lead me directly to a fast food joint’s parking lot. Once again, realizing I know nothing.
“What the fuck are you doing?” someone shouts as whoever it is raps on the passenger side window with their fist. I stop chewing and let the half-chomped pile of waste in my mouth go still and turn my head slowly to see who has busted my pathetic desperation. Rachel. I just stare at her. Her wildly untamed curly hair is whipping all over the place even though there is no wind as far as I can tell and her mouth is also curled but it’s unmoving and stuck in a goofy grin that only marijuana can create. She rattles the locked door’s handle. “Let me in, dude.” I contemplate just staring at her and pretending her voice cannot make it passed the barrier the car provides. Consideration steps in and informs me that I should probably just let her in. I reach over and unlock it.
“Dude, I haven’t seen you eat anything aside from bananas and broccoli in years. What gives?” She giggles. I stay silent. I don’t know where to start. I begin chewing my almost forgotten bite of processed meat and bun again.
One thing everyone should probably understand about me is that I do not often express my feelings. I live in this bubble that I seldom allow people to enter and it works. People really don’t care about other people’s thoughts or feelings so if you just don’t tell anyone, everyone assumes the best. I’m a happy, free-spirited, don’t-ever-feel-sad kind of girl to my whole hometown. Not because I tell them that I am, but because I don’t argue otherwise.
“You didn’t know? I’m a secret fat person. I’ve been sustaining myself on covert fast food runs for years now. The jig is up.” I say with my mouth still full. Rachel reaches down and grabs a cluster of fries from the red container and jams them all into her mouth at one time.
“Duuuude, talk to me.” I swallow the bite that has been relaxing in my mouth now for a full minute, at least. I stare at her some more both in an attempt to avoid her question and figure out if she’s drunk. Talk to her bout what? The fact is if I want to talk to her -really talk to her- then I have to start from the breakup and work my way to this very moment and that’ll take forever. I have to admit that I haven’t been being honest about how I feel with people and that I’m a selfish fucking bitch who has little regard for how others feel as long as I can satisfy my own need for attention and instant gratification. Honestly, it’s not something I feel like discussing.
Most of my friends would make an easy out for me. For example, I would just have to lead off with a sentence like “David went on a date last night,” and they would take it from there, practically telling me how I feel and why I feel that way and then sprinkle it with arbitrary and generic advice that seemed more aimed to sooth their own doubts than any of mine. But not Rachel, she would listen, throw in a sentence at the end that was actually a question and leave me wondering even more about what the hell I was doing.
“You’ve been crying. You’re eating McDonalds. You’re parked in the back of a parking lot. You’re doomed.” Rachel said as matter-of-factly as she might say “I’m stoned.” I stare at her some more as I take another bite of my personal therapist and contemplate the possible truth in her statement. I am doomed. I feel doomed. I’m pining over a man that I don’t even like, realizing another guy that I thought was my savior of all things sexual is, in fact, not, and apparently letting myself go, because I’m jamming the worst food possible into my gullet.
“David went on a date last night.” I decide to just go with that opening sentence anyway. Take it away, friend! She waits with a blank expression as she reaches down and grabs more french fries. We both sit in some sort of limbo while we wait, having expected the other to continue with words.
“Yeah, And?” Shit. I should have gone with something more universally upsetting like “my dog got hit by a car” or “I have been diagnosed with cancer.” I ponder how I should go about explaining why this is forcing me to act like a fourteen year-old, lovesick chick that was just stood up for the homecoming dance, but I come up with nothing.
“And well, I read once in Cosmo that this is how regular girls are supposed to act when their ex-boyfriend who hates them goes on a date with a single mom who probably has her shit together more than me, except for the fact that she has a bastard child. I don‘t think that‘s a big deal though, even though it leads me to believe she probably has herpes and lives in a trailer.”
“What about Cooper?” This was the real question I was dreading. How do I explain Cooper?
I don’t know anything about this world.
“What about him? He’s a long-distance fuck buddy, which makes absolutely zero sense whatsoever. Only I would get involved strictly on a sexual level with some jack ass that lives four hours away that I cannot even fuck when I want to.”
“He doesn’t want a relationship?”
“Nope, guess not. In fact, he told me I’m allowed to fuck whoever I want.” I threw my hands up in some sort of a whatever gesture. Rachel frowned.
“You don’t strike me as the jealous type…”
“I’m not,” I interrupt. “I’m having an equally hard time figuring this all out.”
I slump farther into the driver’s seat. No, Cooper doesn’t want a relationship. I let the thought pool darkly at the bottom of my brain dripping all the way down to my heart where I feel a quick sting. Cooper, as you may have assumed, lives in another state. Cooper is a self-proclaimed “commitment-phobe,” even though all of his prior relationships have lasted more than three years, which seems rather committed to me. That makes me assume that he simply does not want to commit to me. Cooper is not husband material regardless of the fact that he owns a business. David, on the other hand, is husband material. David is loyal and never makes me shovel snow and will do anything I ask.
Wait, a minute. Something just occurred to me. I’m not looking for a boyfriend or a long-distance fuck buddy, but rather I’m looking for a husband. I’m twenty-eight and as far away from having a husband as I was at sixteen. Is this the underlying issue behind my melt down?
I don’t know why I am looking for a husband. I have it on good authority that I do not even like them. The whole idea makes me feel claustrophobic and doomed to a life of sexual frustration while turning my vagina into a birth canal to pump out clones inevitably robbing me of my boobs, dreams, and ability to have a bottle of wine and beef jerky for dinner.
Maybe I am looking for a husband because most of my friends have found one all ready. Maybe I’m looking for a husband because my parents are always asking when I’m going to find a husband. Maybe I am looking for a husband because the society I live in pretty much screams at me that I’m useless unless I become a house wife.
I’ve seen the Swiffer commercials.
If women actually watched cleaning product commercials nowadays, they’d realize that they haven’t changed in fifty years. All joking aside, if I based my life on what Mr. Clean told me in one minute increments, then by now, I should be thrilled when my imaginary four year old son spills grape juice everywhere because he was running around the countertop chasing our family dog and I’m prepared with the correct paper towel (compared to leading household brands). I should be cheering happily as I push around the most technologically advanced vacuum- beaming smile included- because finally I have found a machine that can get into that pesky corner that has been troubling me so. I should be overjoyed when I find a bread crumb that makes breading chicken easy as 1-2-3 so that I can prepare snacks for my husband’s Super Bowl party and still have time to get the grass stains out of my son’s jeans.
I’m twenty-eight and know nothing of this world, but I do know that I will never ever be excited about dusting.
Yet something inside compels me to want that deep connection that so many grab at hastily leading them to a life of laundry detergent dilemmas and utter boredom instead of to an everlasting bond of happiness.
“You always have a wall up, Becki. Don’t think that some of us don’t see it. Do you think you’re just facing buried feelings of doubt because you realize David really loved you and that it‘s not going to be a picnic finding someone else who does?”
See? She asks me all the hard questions that are blatantly rhetorical and obvious, but I can’t answer anyway. I stare at her. She stares at what’s left of my cheeseburger. “Do you mind if I have a bite of that?” She says nodding her head in my dollar menu dinner’s direction. I hand the remainder of the burger over.
“You can have the rest. Honestly, I think I may vomit any minute now.” I watch as she devours the last of it. I’m not going to vomit from the crap food. I’m going to vomit because I feel absolutely stuck, confused, defeated, down-trodden, totally clueless, and I don’t even know why I feel any of the things I feel.
“This is pretty tasty.” Rachel turns and looks as a man in black slacks, a slightly wrinkled blue collared t-shirt indicating it had sat in the dryer for just a smidge too long, and a black visor with the signature arches on it walks by with a large bag of trash headed for the dumpster. “One time, they made me wait like two minutes for some fresh fries, but honestly it was worth it. Seriously. And really, I trust the workers here.” I eye the man as he wipes his hands on his pants after having dumped off the trash bag. He looked the type that sat around and played Halo on six different gaming systems at three in the morning. You know, the type that is so involved, they piss in bottles so they don’t have to pause. I made this assumption by his slightly matted poodle-esque hair and wire-rimmed glasses that looked as if they came from a time capsule circa 1991. As Americans, we all think we are experts at sweepingly vague imperiousness. I personally just judged a man primarily on his hair cut and choice of frames, but I am pretty sure that if I told him a secret, he’d keep it. So she was probably right about him being the type you can trust.
“You know, David really, really loved you. I think in all of my life I’ve never seen a person love someone as much as David loved you.” Rachel manages to spit out in between chews and swallows.
I catch my own eyes in the rearview mirror. They’re welling up, but not with tears. Rather with a cloud of doom that seems to be turning my eyes overcast. I turn back to Rachel who continues. “I mean, do you think you’ll ever find a guy that loves you as much as he did?” I lean back in the seat and close my eyes, fighting off the urge to barf all over the steering wheel.
I know nothing of this world except that I’m doomed.
(Chapter 2 next week.)